This is one of those chuck it all together and forget about it dishes. It works particularly well in a slow cooker but you can also do it in the oven on a low heat. I used leg steaks here (because they were on offer) but I would normally use diced shoulder. Beef shin also works well but obviously substitute beef stock instead of lamb. Using a whole fresh chilli in this way adds a nice gentle buzz of heat but is not in any way overpowering.
Tonight I served this with courgettes and a mix of grains and beans, mostly to get my daughter to eat more variety than she would if left to her own devices. Naturally you can use anything you like here – rice, quinoa, cous cous, pearl barley, noodles… maybe even mashed potato. Low-Carb and gluten-free options include cauliflower rice, courgette or squash ‘noodles’.
Vegetable-wise you can add things to the pot, whatever you prefer and in any combination: spinach, other types of squash, green beans, mushrooms. The list is pretty much endless. For speed you can use a few tablespoons of ginger and garlic paste instead of fresh but it’s hardly a taxing amount of preparation and grating garlic and ginger on a Microplane takes only seconds to do.
Because we felt like a big bowl of comfort this evening I left the sauce quite thin and soupy so that it could be spooned up but the recipe gives instructions for a thicker result.
dash of oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
500g diced lamb shoulder
4 cloves of garlic, grated
1 inch of fresh ginger, grated
6 cardamom pods
4 bay leaves
1 large cinnamon stick
100g cashew nuts
1 fresh chilli – red or green
250ml lamb or vegetable stock
1 small tin of coconut cream
Fresh coriander or fresh mint
Lightly fried sliced courgettes
Heat the oil in a wide shallow pan and fry the onion. Just before it turns a deep golden brown add the garlic and ginger and stir and fry for the last few seconds then remove with a slotted spoon and add to either a slow cooker or an ovenproof casserole dish with a lid.
In the same pan fry off the meat until brown on all sides. Add to the onions.
Again in the same pan add the whole spices and the cashew nuts and fry briefly until fragrant then add to the lamb and onions.
Cut a long slit in the side of the chill and add it to the pot, then add the stock. It should barely cover the meat. Cover the dish and either cook on low in a slow cooker for 6-7 hours or in the oven at 160ºC for 3-4 hours. The meat should break apart when pressed with a fork. If it doesn’t give it a bit longer.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to a plate, discard the chilli and the whole spices then cover the meat with foil and keep warm. Pour the stock into a wide shallow pan and boil rapidly until reduced to a few tablespoons then stir in the coconut cream. Turn down the heat, return the meat to the pan, heat through and serve with a little shredded fresh coriander and/or shredded fresh mint leaves and some lightly fried courgettes.